The Sun Temple, Modhera in Gujarat dedicated to the Hindu Sun-God, Surya. It was built in 1026 AD by King Bhimdev of the Solanki dynasty. The Modhera sun temple is situated on the bank of the river Pushpavati, 25 km from Mehsana and 102 km from Ahmedabad. The temple was so designed that the first rays of the sun fell on the image of Surya, the Sun God, at the time equinoxes. The temple is partially in ruins after it was destroyed by the Allauddin Khilji. However, enough has remained of the temple to convey its grandeur.
The Sun temple is of a unique architecture. The temple comprises three separate, axially aligned and integrated elements: Surya Kund, Sabha Mandap and Guda Mandap.
Suryakunda, also known as Ramakunda, is a large rectangular stepped tank measuring 53.6 x 36.6 meters under the east face of sabhamandap used to store pure water. Devotees were required to perform ceremonial ablutions here before worshiping the Sun God. The Suryakund is a finest example of geometry. The organization of stone into composition gives shape to a dazzling pattern of art. It is proportioned with innumerable stone steps leading devotees down to its base. 108 miniature shrines are carved in between the steps inside the tank. Also number 108 considered to be auspicious by Hindus as Hindu rosary has same number of beads.
Sabha Mandap: This hall of religious gatherings is a magnificent pillared hall. It is open from all sides and has 52 intricately carved pillars representing 52 weeks in a year. The carvings depict episodes from the Hindu epics of Ramayan, Mahabharat and Krishna Lila (i.e., story of Lord Krishna).
Between the Sabha Mandapa and the sanctum sanctorum is a beautiful hall with pillars and arches, whose facade has been renovated and partially redone. The walls have 12 niches showing the different aspects of the Sun God in each month.
This is called the main temple or the sanctum sanctorum. Lotuses open with sunrise and close itself with sunset; it is considered to be the sun’s flower. The entire temple is therefore based on an inverted lotus-base plinth. It was designed so that the rays of the rising and setting sun on the day of equinox (20 March and 21 September generally) fell on the bejeweled pure gold idol of Sun riding on his chariot driven by Saarthi Arun. Sun’s chariot has seven horses and Saarthi Arun sits on the fourth. The entire gold idol (including the charioteer, chariot and horses) was placed on a pit that was 15 feet deep and filled with gold coins. It was built by the Solankis in honour of their ancestral God. It was plundered by Mahmud Gazni.